Schools as a system to improve nutrition
This discussion paper (PDF) by the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) shows that schools offer a unique opportunity to improve nutrition using a systemic, multi-sectoral approach. Social, health, economic and ethic arguments coalesce in and around schools. Looking at schools as a food system to improve nutrition offers insights into what interventions to implement and combine to ensure the best possible nutrition outcomes for children in schools, their families and their communities, both now and in future. It is critical to recognize the multiple benefits of school-based food and nutrition intervention, such as school meals. The potential returns on investment in school meals extend far beyond health and nutrition benefits, spanning greater access to education, social protection and rural agricultural development. Beyond their immediate benefits for children, school meals, when linked to local smallholder farming and agricultural development, can also shorten supply chains and ensure the diversification of food procurement, increasing the use of traditional, neglected and underutilized foods, while enhancing biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability. The discussion paper shows 12 case studies of school-based interventions. More case studies can be found in this study (PDF) by the World Food Programme (WFP). This study analyzes how national school meal programmes address hunger and malnutrition in all forms, shedding light on country practices in Latin-America and the Caribbean.